One of the hottest trends in fitness right now is wearables. They are everywhere. Just check the wrists of anyone you pass and you’ll see bands of all colors lighting up with results as a new milestone for the day has been reached. And they are not just for elite athletes with a strict training program.
While the accuracy of each brand of tracking technology is the subject of much debate, the one thing we can all agree on is that this fairly new technology gets people motivated to be more active. In this industry, isn’t that what we want — to help people get on their path towards health and wellness?
The next question is: What can we, as industry experts and facility operators, do to embrace this trend?
Welcome the technology.
New exercisers seem particularly interested in fitness trackers as it helps them understand where they are with their current activity levels. It also helps them set realistic, attainable goals to begin their workout. So why not embrace the metrics?
Facilities can set up classes that show people different ways to achieve their 10,000 steps in a day. Simple signs near the treadmills can help motivate new exercisers to hop on, get started and rack up the steps. Try small group training sessions on unique products like a climber — this helps new exercisers overcome the fear of the unknown with a new workout, while earning an “overachiever” badge for walking well beyond their 10,000 steps. Or make a contest out of it with a facility-wide triathlon.
Help members brace for reality.
Fitness trackers are double-edged swords as they put reality right in the face of their owners. Sometimes that reality is motivational, particularly when an exerciser learns that their average daily activity gets their heart rate into the active zone for double their goal time. But it can also be a harsh dose of reality when measuring food intake.
For those trackers that help monitor calorie consumption, sometimes learning the truth — that you consume more calories in a day than is recommended, despite an effort to eat healthy — can be downright discouraging. Therefore, fitness facilities should make sure personal trainers are available for consults. If there’s a nutritionist on staff, offer an occasional free seminar to help people better understand just what those numbers mean. Try offering a few simple recipes in your monthly newsletter or on your Facebook page to help members, particularly new members, whip up a quick, healthy meal that fits the calorie intake they should be targeting.
Jumpstart their routine.
For those exercisers who understand the data and want to improve upon what they currently do, offer them a challenge. This type of technology is ripe for a HIIT small group session, as an example. When members check in with their technology after their first 45-minute class and see that their heart rate was “active” the entire time, they exceeded their step goal for the day and they had fun, they’ll understand that they are able to raise the bar on their own goals.
Fitness wearables are here to stay, at least for the near future. Let’s embrace the technology by creating the programming, offering the right equipment and establishing the fitness setting to help members establish their goals, and then achieve them.
Sonja Friend-Uhl is the lead master trainer of Star Trac. She can be contacted at 800.228.6635 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.